Category: REVIEWS

CD and DVD reviews

The Thermals, Now We Can See

The last thing the world needs is another generic power-punk three piece. But the first thing that the world needs is more of Portland’s The Thermals. Quite simply, this is power-punk with a potent message. There is nothing generic about these three; Now We Can See, their latest screams with youthful urgency. Not bad for…

Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada, Coconut Rock Deluxe Edition

Listen up, this is how everyone should make an album. A brilliant mix of of genres, it blends seamlessly into a psychedelic/Latin/funk/dub masterpiece. I’d bet money that you’ll be tapping your toe or dancing along to it’s hypnotic rhythms by track five. Sounding like Frank Zappa decided to do a Latin infused album with DJ…

William Funk, The Veronica Sessions

With a friggin’ cool name like William Funk and a hot new record, what more could you want?   According to William Funk, there is a lot more to life than a rad name and a bunch of new songs.   There is a much bigger purpose & meaning behind the making of The Veronica…

Fanfarlo, Resevoir

It’s hard not to fall wickedly in love with Fanfarlo, the indie-pop five piece out of London. Their melodies are plumb, their rhythms brim with joy, complemented by an array of strings and horns. And lead singer Simon Balthazar coos in such a healthy and enlightening manner that hasn’t been heard since the likes of…

Yukon Blonde, Yukon Blonde

Yukon Blonde’s self titled debut full-length is garnering some serious buzz amongst the indie circles in Canada. As one would imagine, in the age of immediacy, fueled by blogs and the like, buzz surrounding a young band’s debut LP isn’t anything new. Yukon Blonde definitely run the risk of falling victim to the hype, considering…

Mando Morphosis, 2010

Mando Morphosis is a group made up of seven mandolin players.   Originality at its finest, as this band brings fresh material to the masses. With the exception of one track, this entire record is all instrumental. Mando Morphosis are proud to introduce their new acoustic music at the start of a brand-new decade. The…

Bowerbirds, Upper Air

There’s a haunting expansiveness on Upper Air, the latest from Bowerbirds that suggests this forceful three piece has their sights set very, very high. On their own, each of the ten tracks presents a rather rugged aesthetic. It’s bare-bones Americana, leaning heavily on acoustically-charged melodies and the potent pitch of vocalist Phil Moore. Connect the…

The Burned, The Burned

It’s rare when music and lyrics reach down and touch your soul.   So rare, I can’t remember the last time it happened to me.   Suddenly, I am sitting here mesmerized by “The Burned”. Thought provoking, current day lyrics are combined with mellow, accoustic and electronic sounds that extend themselves creating visual experiences that…

Sol Skugga, Fairytales and Lullabies

Sol Skugga is coming strong with her eclectic set of songs titled Fairytales and Lullabies.   This young and talented singer/songwriter/producer blends together musical styles such as: classical, rock, pop, electronica and Celtic string arrangements.   Skugga hails from the land of Sweden where she is promoting her third album.   The US and the…

The Band of Heathens, One Foot In The Ether

From the opening slow, grooving foot-stomping crunch of “L.A. County Blues,” you know that One Foot In The Ether, the latest from The Band Of Heathens isn’t a record to be taken lightly. Full of the kind of blue collar grit that country-rock ought to possess, The Band Of Heathens walk with a boisterous swagger…

El Perro Del Mar, Love Is Not Pop

For all that Love Is Not Pop tries to be, it manages to accomplish a hell of a lot more. The latest from sullen Swede Sarah Assbring dips its feet with pleasure in the comfortable waters of dream-pop, but there’s enough comfy groove and passionate resolve on the record that it could likely stand alone…

The Coloursound, Reclaim

Turns out The Office isn’t the only thing to come out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Many years ago, Sean Hieter and Doug Batt got together to pack College bars with their meaty, sweaty brand of rock. And now, some 10 years after that meeting, Hieter and Batt act as the driving force behind the Colorsound. Reclaim,…

Capybara, Try Brother

On the strength of their name alone, Capybara might evoke images of massive rats. Maybe you’d imagine their sound as a bit murky and heavy. But this Kansas foursome is a clever bunch. On Try Brother, their latest full-length, the band has created ten of the most docile yet engulfing quirk-pop tracks of the last…

Nicholas Mrozinski, Together We’re Stronger

Right away, the environmentally safe CD packaging blends right in with the earth-friendly overall sound.   Not to mention, this new record is a powerful testament to the local talents that thrive in the Twin Cities music scene.   Mrozinski and “The Feelin Orchestra” attempt to make Minnesota the new music capital.   With the…

Clever Con, The Robot EP

Have you ever listened to a band that was part punk, part reggae, and part metal? Let me introduce you to A Clever Con, New Jersey’s latest in innovative original music.   With Mike Dietz (Lead Vocals and Guitar), Ryan Marsa (Lead Guitar and Vocals), Bobby Certo (Bass), and TJ “Smash” Horner (Drums), you get…

Amerie, In Love & War

Amerie has truly come a long way since her “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” days back in 2002 when she first hit the scene. With “In Love & War”, we can definitely see some serious growth in this fourth album, released in late 2009.   Popularly known to have love themes in her R&B…

BLK Orpheus, Where Words Fail

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear music that truly conveys a message, one that has been shown by BLK (pronounced “black”) Orpheus, with his debut album, “Where Words Fail.”   BLK Orpheus, real name Omotola Ajibade, is a native Nigerian, who has lived in the Bronx (birthplace to hip hop) and now in…

Gail Marten, In Love…Again

“Never let me go,” Gail Marten sings in the opening track of her album, In Love…Again. But she’s not just singing, she’s pleading. And you’re not just listening idly; you’re transfixed and fascinated by the voice in your ears, a voice of maturity and depth, smooth and airy, the voice of someone who knows a…

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, NIGHT CASTLE

TSO is recognized as the ultimate touring operatic/theatrical act in music today.   Selections from the new offering are being previewed on the current annual TSO Christmas tour.   When you have a stable of the top writers, musicians and vocalists in the business, it makes for a flexible and versatile, writing platform without boundaries.…

Matthew Curran, Simplify

Matthew Curran and his trio (Matt Jurasek on bass & Kevin Conray on drums) introduce a powerful yet simplified rock ‘n’ roll sound.   Curran & company are blending together elements of rock, blues and alternative to offer you a creatively fresh recording.   With catchy guitar rhythms & vibrant hooks, Simplify sums it all…

Alligators, Piggy & Cups

Recently were seen some impressive music come out of the Pacific Northwest. Bands like Loch Lomond, Kane Hodder, The Dandy Warhol’s, and of course Death Cab for Cutie just to name a few. This new brand of music flows and ebbs with rich liquidity, exotic musical textures, and a lot of positive creative energy. Enter…

Cool Aide, Flavor Ade

Have you ever put a CD in your laptop or CD player and right before you hit play, asked yourself why?   Why do I really want to put this on?   I felt that exact feeling before putting on the latest from Cool Aide, “Flavor Ade”.   But with a sense of optimism, I…

Project DNA, Self-Titled

Singer/Songwriter, Jimmy Blecher is the driving force behind this new & exciting act.   Project DNA stands for “Do Not Ask”, which is what Blecher would tell people inquiring about the new album.   The record is all said & done now and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised after taking a listen.…

Planetary Nights, Elliptical Motion

Planetary Nights and Elliptical Motion are ever-flowing with raw energy.   R.J. McSweeney is responsible for all the songs &  lyrics as well as being the lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist.   The CD is produced, engineered and mixed by Mark Hermann who also contributed all lead guitar parts as well as keyboard/organ sections.  …

Panda Transport, Monorail

Kathy Compton and Thierry Holweck are bringing a diverse array of audio to the forefront.   As the sole songwriters on Monorail, Compton and Holweck aka Panda Transport have created Electro-Pop grooves.   The record offers acoustic & pop elements mixed with a unique display of sounds.   Monorail comes after Panda Transport’s debut release,…

Drum Dynasty, Drum Dynasty

One can envision the drums as a heartbeat, pumping blood into the rest of a song. That’s what can best describe how Drum Dynasty works and is truly expressed in their two-disc debut release, “Drum Dynasty.”     Drum Dynasty consists of members Bruce Burgess on drums, Arturo Rodriguez and Marco Zonka on percussionist tandems,…

The Bramble Jam, Move Your Boots

The Bramble Jam are introducing their new brand of kids’ music to the world.   Inspired by their own kids, Jason Kern and Jessie Griffiths have decided to create something magically special for ALL to enjoy.   Move Your Boots is fun & inquisitive music for children and families to enjoy for generations to come.…

REO SPEEDWAGON, NOT SO SILENT NIGHT: CHRISTMAS WITH REO SPEEDWAGON

Singer/songwriter Kevin Cronin and the boys have assembled their version of 13 Christmas staples.   Kevin explained that they didn’t realize that Christmas albums have to be recorded in spring/summer months, and that the late start had them rushing to get distribution before December.   They are currently on their Can’t Stop Rocking tour to…

Rick McGuire, Dust and Tears

The first thing to say after listening to Dust and Tears is that Rick McGuire is the man!   This singer/songwriter from Minneapolis has created something here that is so incredibly cool-sounding.   Pop/Rock is the main driving force behind the album, but McGuire adds his suave & edgy vocals to the mix to make…

Ultimate Power Duo, New Normal

Saskatoon isn’t exactly a tourist destination of the highest accord in Canada, but at least acts like Ultimate Power Duo are doing their best to put the province’s musical talents at the forefront. The raw energy of the band’s second full-length, New Normal, is a surprisingly meaty listen for a three-piece, with scuzzy solos laced…

The Balconies, The Balconies

Finding a balance between unrestrained energy and genuine talent can be a tough pill to swallow for young bands. Finding their footing as far as capabilities and limitations is a practice that often takes a few records. Such is not the case for The Balcones. Their self-titled release features three remarkably talented musicians having a…

Rhett Frazier Inc, Escape From Dee-Troyt

The cover art for Los Angeles based Rhett Frazier Inc.’s debut disc Escape From Dee-troyt says plenty. A classic orange muscle car is parked along a street surrounded by a couple of colorful retro-looking buildings.   This picture is a perfect metaphor for the disc’s sound because old time soul and funk and bluesy rock…

BOB DYLAN, CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART

I wonder sometimes if it isn’t tedious being Mr. Bob Dylan, having listened for decades now to people lamenting over his inability to “sing.” Mr. Dylan sings in Christmas in the Heart, his 2009 collection of holiday classics, both secular and pious. He sings well. Yes, Mr. Dylan’s vocal chords are old and abused, beat-up,…

These United States, Everything Touches Everything

The motor is really running at full steam on Everything Touches Everything, the latest from alt-country groove masters These United States. They move with the melodic ease of a rowboat at dusk while still giving a noticeable homage to an unyielding joy that results in some pretty damn catchy rock and roll. If there’s an…

Kill The Lights, Fog Area

Montreal’s Kill The Lights certainly know how to run a gamut of sound. They’ve toiled with various sonic elements for the past few years; often allowing their records to stomp with a definitive brood-rock authority. They’ve even toiled in shoegaze, but the expansive double guitar attack of Joseph Yarmush and Alex Hackett ended up breathing…

Acres and Acres, All Nations

When David Scholten speaks, people ought to listen. The lead singer of Acres and Acres, the harmonic folk duo out of Halifax displays a poignant penchant for expressive his own personal truths on All Nations, their latest full-length. His voices creeps from side to side as a natural, gentle current might, making for some pretty…

The Shells, Written Road

The Shells give their listeners a lot to take in. Listening to Written Road, you’ll find beautiful vocals, stunning 3-part harmonies, empowering lyrics, not to mention the layers of the instrumental side. Yes, these women are country, but don’t let that fool you. They let the country come in as they please, and the rest…

L’illon, Warrior Angel

L’illon is a singer/songwriter based in Washington, D.C. who is about to take the music world by storm with her debut release.   This artist is hitting the indie music scene hard with her vibrantly fresh sound.   L’illon appears to be playing the role of the Warrior & the Angel on this new record.…

You Are Home, Phoneyhome

You Are Home is solely made up of Matthew Dake as bassist, multi-instrumentalist & songwriter and Phoneyhome is his baby.   The creation of this band though goes back to the brain work of Dake and a drummer by the name of Breighton Engeman.   Engeman eventually left the band and in return left it…